Please sign in to post.

In my late 60’s traveling alone

I’m going to Amsterdam March, 2018, traveling alone. Any observations or cautions from experienced travelers in my age range?
(I have a money belt and copies of passport etc.)
Any tips appreciated.

Posted by
11450 posts

Well you have about ten years on me.. but I look older than I am, lol ..

As long as you arent offended by the occasional whiff of pot smoke.. or perhaps seeing a lady in a red light window , you'll be fine .
Take the usual precautions.. keep bulk of money and passport in your money belt or hotel safe ( and dont access moneybelt in public), just keep your one days cash in your purse..

The one caution I will give you and don't take it too lightly .. is watch out for bikes.. its so easy as a pedestrian to wander into their bike lanes and they will ring their bells at you to jump the heck out of their way..

Posted by
5545 posts

I didn't really feel there was much different about Amsterdam in terms of personal safety than any other large city, with the exception of watching out for bike lanes and making sure you are not walking in one.
I do encourage you to send a text or email home to a friend or relative each day. It is good to have someone to connect with that knows your plans.

If you feel the need for some company one day, there are several good tour companies that lead organized day tours that can be fun.

I'm glad you are going to have this trip!

Posted by
996 posts

Use the same precautions you'd use when traveling to any large US city - Chicago, NYC, LA, etc. - pay attention to your surroundings. Don't leave your bag unattended. And when traveling in Europe, always be ready to get out of the way of anyone on a bicycle. ;-)

You'll be fine. I hope to hear about your adventures when you return!!

Posted by
1806 posts

Younger than you, but have traveled in Amsterdam a number of times solo. It's a relatively compact city and easy to get around. Aside from the bike thing, I'd also say look out for trams and motorcycles. On some of the noisy, busy streets you don't even hear the trams sneaking up behind you and there are parts where tourists are walking right over the tracks that the tram runs along, so keep an eye out that you aren't stepping in front of a tram. Motorcycles, like locals on bikes, don't really seem to slow down for anyone so be careful about looking both ways before you step off any curb (and on some streets, the "sidewalk" can be quite narrow forcing you to step out into bike or traffic lanes at times).

If you feel weird about dining on your own in a restaurant, try going to Foodhallen. Also, on Friday nights the Van Gogh Museum is open late and it can be a fun place to have a cocktail in their lobby if they have a band or a DJ and then walk around the museum to see some art.

Posted by
5 posts

I’ll definitely check out Foodhallen.

I’m feeling a lot better after these responses.
Thank you all so much for such solid, practical pointers. My nervous system is beginning to settle!

I feel happy when old aged people going to Amsterdam. I don’t know why this happens to me but I like. Have a pleasant trip. Thanks.

Posted by
6732 posts

I am older than you are and love Amsterdam. Take seriously the warnings about traffic. My husband and I joke that we are likely to meet our end in Amsterdam. For some reason I have a terrible time differentiating bike, pedestrian, tram and car paths especially when they bleed into each other. I nearly got nailed by a streetcar a few years ago, looking one way I missed the one coming the other way with my hood up in the rain at night; it took a bigger leap than I probably have in me now to get out of the way. The bikes go very fast and cars come flying out of canal streets -- you really have to pay close attention.

Get a hotel with a room safe and only carry the money for today and one card well secured anywhere in Europe. The dropping of borders has meant crime families that specialize in petty theft are ubiquitous in European cities where tourists congregate. If you use a cross body purse in front under control and carry as little as possible in valuables while out and about, you will be fine. Don't assume you would notice a hand in your pocket or purse so make sure they are not available to pickers.

It is a beautiful city; there are coffeehouses if you want to revisit the 60s; there is excellent Indonesian food as well as Dutch food; the canal boats are a nice intro to the city. It is a city that repays just wandering around and there are nice benches at many spots along the canals to sit and enjoy the cities beauty.

Posted by
1806 posts

"there are coffeeshops if you want to revisit the '60s"

I was still in my bassinet as the 60s came to an end, but on my last trip to Amsterdam spent quite a bit of time going from coffeeshop to coffeeshop with friends who were on their first visit to Amsterdam. A word of caution to you on partaking if you are not a regular user - the stuff is a whole lot stronger now than it was in the '60s. Start off very slowly and talk to the budtender if you need a recommendation or want to understand which strains might produce too strong a high. Be extremely careful with edibles as you just don't know when it's going to creep up on you.

Also, each shop has a different vibe. In some of the ones located in the more touristy areas, as Gen X'ers we felt a little like conservative old farts if the average age was skewing in the 20s. In others we felt perfectly fine because the age mix was much more diverse. If you want to try a coffeeshop, I'd highly recommend La Tertulia. It's located on one of the main canals. Very pleasant and mellow atmosphere - definitely an older clientele and it's the kind of place you can feel comfortable even if you are on your own. Shop is run by a mother/daughter team and they'll take the time to go over the "menu" with you if you need help. They also have a good selection of snacks and non-alcoholic drinks (grilled cheese sandwiches, herbal teas, etc.). There are a few video reviews of it on YouTube made by some Baby Boomers which show the inside and outside of the shop. The videos were made about 9 years ago, but nothing much has changed - shop looks pretty much exactly the same.

Posted by
11292 posts

Have you traveled alone in big cities in the US? The issues you'll encounter in Amsterdam aren't much different, except for the bicycles. I know everyone keeps warning you about them, but there's a reason - until you go, you simply cannot imagine how many of them there are, and how aggressive they are. I also agree about the warning for mopeds - I got hit by one while crossing the street at dusk (that time between when there's good natural light and good artificial light, when visibility is poorest).

Posted by
228 posts

Janettravels44 has all the advice you need , especially about trams coming from 2 directions and almost stepping in front of one after the other one passes . Wear anything valuable ( passport, credit card etc. ) in a money belt and keep a little cash ready for food or drink. You don't want anyone to see where the real money is. Those crime families are extremely well trained and train their children !! also . They'll create a disturbance , argument, accident , you name it . While you're looking they pick your pockets . Amsterdam is very safe when it comes to violent crime but property crimes are more common.

Posted by
5 posts

All of you who have contributed helpful hints to quell my nervousness...a heart felt thank you. I feel more settled than I thought possible - I'll practice all the street smarts you have suggested. I'm off on Friday, and getting excited!

Posted by
1292 posts

Hi, I am a female in my early 60's and have traveled through Europe and Asia by myself. As the others pointed out, you have to be careful but honestly, I think that solo travelers are safer overall. For one thing, you are less likely to be distracted by talking to your traveling partner, so you are less likely to be targeted by pickpockets. And I also think that older people are more aware of their surroundings in general.

Traveling solo is such an enriching experience - you will meet people that you would never have met otherwise, and you have the freedom to go where you want, and change your plans at the last minute.

I am sure you will have a wonderful experience! I am taking a solo trip to the Netherlands in mid-May and can't wait!

Posted by
26 posts

As I wrote in my post on the Keukenhof Gardens, I have traveled solo for the past five years in the summers. I am 70. There are strategies - the preparation is so key and at least half the fun. Meet people. Eat well, keep in shape and do not burn the candle at both ends. I plan the evenings with music, a night time boat cruise, theater - am careful about personal disclosures, use the moneybelt, and do not stay out late, drunk, or any other unwise behavior. Air BnB. Join guided groups for special sights. Small homey modest hotels where they get to know you. Travel Insurance. Trustedhousesitters (last year in southern England for 6 weeks of 'free' place to stay for a brief time each day with two lovely dogs and use of car in Kent, Chipping Camden...), You do not have to eat alone unless you want to...I spent an evening in Kilkenny last year joining a young family and their baby because the waiter in a crowded room suggested we could combine tables. Just lovely. Be open when it is reasonable to do so. I figure good judgement is an important piece but appropriate safe risks offer rewards. Like in other areas of life, trust your gut. Enjoy! Barbara

Posted by
1747 posts

Know that March can be cold and rainy, so be sure to bring a hat, scarf and gloves.Amsterdam has an excellent transit system. The transit offic across from the Central train station sells passes them in various combinations (1-7 day). Also know that many Dutch speak excellent English and I found them very helpful and polite.